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Tutko and Ogilvie tend to scoff at the whole notion of character building in sports. They maintain that, to the contrary, sports do not build character, that when kids start in athletics—Little League, Pop Warner football, vacant-lot pickup games or whatever—"the youngsters who are tender-minded, a little less bright, a little less emotionally stable" are weeded out. The kids who stay are already emotionally stable, tough-minded, etc.
Ogilvie and Tutko agree that competition can bring out the best in people, but they point out that it also brings out the worst. Studies at Michigan, Columbia and San Jose State (by Tutko) show that in those intensely competitive classrooms as many as 80% of the students cheat if given the opportunity.
Neither prof believes in the term "friendly competitor."
"We have overemphasized achievement as a general ethic," Ogilvie says. "If people select this as a particular ethic, fine. We're all for people seeking to excel in whatever they seek to excel in, but this shouldn't be used as a recommendation, as a way of life or an important human value, because it just isn't true. There's not a bit of evidence that competition leads to happiness or love. In fact, in a loving relationship there can't be competitiveness. Can't be. It's the absence of competitiveness that's one of the fundamental ingredients of a loving relationship."
Still, the busy shrinks from San Jose stand ready to help those who choose to compete.
"It hurts us immensely to see a person who has talent not being handled in a way to bring out that talent," says Tutko. "To have that person handled correctly, that's our bag.... A winner, in our estimation, is a guy who works up to his potential even if he loses every goddamn game. But he does the best he possibly can."
(A) true (B) maybe (C) false.